The United Nations Plaza
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 14a
The United Nations Plaza is a temporary school. Structured as a seminar/residency program in the city of Berlin, it will involve collaboration with approximately 30 artists, writers, theorists and a wide range of audiences for a period of one year. In the tradition of Free Universities, most of its events will be open to all those interested to take part. United Nations Plaza is organized by Anton Vidokle in collaboration with Liam Gillick, Boris Groys, Martha Rosler, Walid Raad, Jalal Toufic, Nikolaus Hirsch and Tirdad Zolghadr.
On October 27-29, 2006, The UN Plaza will be proud to present the inaugural conference entitled: Histories of Productive Failures: From French Revolution to Manifesta VI, organized by Anton Vidokle & Tirdad Zolghadr. The conference will be followed by a two week seminar with Boris Groys: After the Red Square.
For further information please contact Magdalena Magiera: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, October 27
18:00 Manifesta VI Ghost: A specter is haunting Europe
Panelists: Haris Pellapaisiotis, Mete Hatay, Pavlina Paraskevaidou, Anton Vidokle, Rana Zincir Celal
Moderator: Anselm Franke
21:00 Inaugural dinner with Adrienne Goehler (by invitation)
23:00 Rock You Like A Hurricane: drunken dance party with Julieta Aranda
Saturday, October 28
14:00 Program: Liam Gillick
18:00 Respondent: Maria Lind
19:00 Happy Hour
Sunday, October 29
14:00 Diedrich Diederichsen
The event will be conducted in seminar form. All participants are to commit to attending the full four hours’ duration. The seminar will attempt to link “failures” of two different kinds. On the one hand, drawing on recent experiments in art academy formatting, it is the incommunicado – possibly structural – between audience and lecturer which shall be explored. On the other hand, it is a broader matter of political ideology that will be addressed; the elusive nature of collective ideals in a situation where the political projections at hand are lacking in any adequate referent to latch on to.
18:00 Respondent: Tirdad Zolghadr
19:00 Closing remarks: Vasif Kortun
Keywords: no pain no gain, breakdown, stoppage, malfunction, crash, collapse, fiasco, letdown, its such a cliché, can I speak to the manager?, disappointment, disenchantment, disillusionment, deprivation, loss, social democracy, euphemisms, bitterness, real-politic, good intentions, preaching to the choir, bad news, tough luck, too bad, misery, malaise, ennui, it’ll pass, can’t get any worse, the show must go on, silver-lining, too many cooks, world weariness, regret, guilt, shame, swamp, muddling through, non-event, anti-climax, amnesia, its not the same anymore, character building experience, failure as an option, faux-pas, blunder, resignation, embarrassment, hangover, lose/lose, whatever, pyrrhic victory, envy, obsolescence, tautologies, flops, bankruptcy, told you so, it wasn’t my idea, nice try, you are too sensitive, white elephant, elephant in the room, submission, sellout, compromise, commodification, globalization, surrender, retreat, concession, deconstruction, I don’t want to talk about it, I knew this would happen, let me come clear with you, access denied, this won’t hurt a bit, talk is cheap, but you promised, just say no, institutional critique, co-optation, preemptive strike, soft targets, collateral damage, friendly fire, the lesser evil, easier sad than done, the party is over, urban failures, failures of nation states, failure of internationalism, martyrdom, better sad than sorry, it’s the thought that counts, retirement, victimization, sacrifice, bring it back, suicide, ideological collapse, get well soon, you are so negative, art world defeatism, morning after, same old same old, moan fest, doom, the eternal return, heartbreak, you’ve got problems, weltschmerz, delusions of grandeur, window dressing, cul-de-sac, been there done that, self-help, if you only knew, charity, pity, burnout, running on empty, too little too late, inferiority complex, over the hill, not knowing when to stop, knowing your place, implosion, no show, cancellation, stand by, indefinite postponement, you are beginning to piss me off, I did not mean it, come on its only a show, repentance, payback, I cant work like this, better luck next time, back to square one, can’t help you, what did you expect, we are going to have to let you go, you are telling me now, easy for you to say
About conference participants (in order of appearance)
Mete Hatay works as the Project Leader at the PRIO Cyprus Centre. In 2003 and 2004, he worked extensively with PRIO’s Public Information Project aimed at providing accurate and non-partisan information on the ‘Annan Plan’. He has for many years conducted research on different minority groups in Cyprus. Hatay is the author of ‘Beyond Numbers: An Inquiry into the Political Integration of the Turkish ‘Settlers’ in Northern Cyprus’ PRIO Report 4, PRIO, 7 September.
Haris Pellapaisiotis has lived with his family in Nicosia, Cyprus, since 2001, where he works as a visual artist and lecturer in photography and visual culture. Prior to that he lived in London where he lectured on photography at Goldsmiths College. He is the founder and a director of Artalk Ltd. Haris is currently co-editing a publication on Nicosia entitled ‘Thinking the City’.
Pavlina Paraskevaidou founded and ran Archimede Staffolini – a contemporary art gallery in Nicosia, Cyprus from 1998-2005. She holds a law degree LLB (Hons) and an MA in History of Art. She is currently a research student in Visual Cultures at Goldsmith’s College, University of London.
Rana Zincir Celal is Vice President for Programs at the Chrest Foundation, a US foundation with grantmaking programs in Turkey and Cyprus. Prior to that she was working as a consultant in Istanbul on a number of projects including a research effort on philanthropy with the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey and a cultural policy initiative with Anadolu Kultur and the European Cultural Foundation. She was the initiator of “Leaps of Faith”, an international contemporary arts exhibition which took place on both sides of Nicosia and the Buffer Zone. Prior to her work in Istanbul, she was based in the Economic Development Unit of the Ford Foundation in New York. She is a member of the Greek Turkish Forum and a board member of the Domini Foundation, which is a donor advised fund operated in partnership with the UN Foundation. Her educational background is in political and economic development from Columbia University and the London School of Economics.
Anton Vidokle was born in Moscow and is currently based in Berlin. His work has been exhibited in shows such as the Venice Biennale, Dakar Biennale and at Tate Modern, London; Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana; Musee d’art Modern de la Ville de Paris; Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; UCLA Hammer, LA; ICA, Boston; Haus Der Kunst, Munich; P.S.1, New York; amongst others. With Julieta Aranda, he put together e-flux video rental. As founding director of e-flux, he has produced projects such as Next Documenta Should Be Curated By An Artist, Do it, Utopia Station poster project, and organized An Image Bank for Everyday Revolutionary Life and Martha Rosler Library. Anton Vidokle was a co-curator of Manifesta 6.
Anselm Franke, independent curator and critic, lives in Berlin. He is the curator of KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (until fall 2006) and works for various institutions in Germany and abroad. He has contributed to magazines such as Parkett, Cabinet Magazine, and ARCHIS. He curated and edited numerous exhibitions and publications, such as Image Archives , the exhibition series Productions 1- 8 , Territories. Islands Camps and Other States of Utopia , The Imaginary Number (KW Berlin, 2005, together with Hila Peleg), B-Zone – Becoming Europe and Beyond and Forum Expanded, a new section on cinematographic installations within the International Film Festival (Berlinale) in Berlin. Anselm Franke is currently a PhD candidate in Visual Cultures/Center for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College London.
Adrienne Goehler served as the curator for the Hauptstadt Kulturfonds (capital city cultural funds) of Berlin. She has also served as a deputy in the Hamburg Parliament as part of the Women’s fraction of the Green Party, headed the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg and was Senator for Science, Research and Culture in Berlin.
Julieta Aranda is an artist who sometimes likes to play music. Her last drunken dancing episode took place at Cafe Bravo, for the opening of e-flux video rental in Berlin, and is still fondly remembered by some.
Liam Gillick was born in Aylesbury (U.K.) He attended Goldsmiths College in London between 1984 and 1987 and has been teaching at Columbia University in New York since 1997. Numerous solo exhibitions since 1989 include Literally, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2003; communes, bar and greenrooms, The Powerplant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, 2003; Exterior Days, Casey Kaplan, New York, 2003; The Wood Way, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2002; A short text on the possibility of creating an economy of equivalence, Palais de Tokyo, 2005. Selected group exhibitions include Singular Forms, Guggenheim Museum, 2004; 50th Venice Biennale, 2003; What If, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2000 and documenta X, 1997. Numerous public projects and interventions include Ft. Lauderdale Airport in 2002 and the new Home Office government building in London in 2005.
Maria Lind is the director of IASPIS (International Artist Studio Programme in Sweden) since 2005. During 2002-2004 she was the director of Kunstverein München where she ran a programme which involved artists such as Deimantas Narkevicius, Oda Projesi, Bojan Sarcevic, Philippe Parreno and Marion von Osten. The format of a retrospective, or survey, was explored in a one-year long retrospective with Christine Borland 2002-2003, only ever showing one piece at a time and a retrospective project in the form of a 7-day long workshop with Rirkrit Tiravanija. The group project “Totally motivated: A sociocultural maneouvre” was a collaboration between five curators and ten artists looking at the relationship between “amateur” and “professional” art and culture. From 1997-2001 she was curator at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and, in 1998, co-curator of “Manifesta 2”, Europe’s biennale of contemporary art. Lind curated “What if: Art on the Verge of Architecture and Design”, filtered by Liam Gillick. Lind was one of 10 contributing curators to Phaidon’s “Fresh Cream” book, and she has contributed widely to magazines including “Index”, “Site”, “Frieze”, “Art Monthly” and “Parkett”, as well as to numerous catalogues and other publications.
Diedrich Diederichsen is an author on art, music, fillm, theatre and politics . His work has been widely published in art and culture publications. He was editor of the magazines Sounds and Spex, and he frequently writes for Texte zur Kunst, Art Forum, Tageszeitung, Theater heute, and other publications. He is currently a professor at Merz Akademie, Stuttgart, and the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna. His recent publications include Golden Years Dokumente und Materialien zur queeren Subkultur 1959-1974, (Co-Editor); Graz 2006; Personas en loop, Buenos Aires 2005; Musikzimmer, Cologne 2005; Sexbeat (new edition) 2002; Schallplatten von 1979-1999, 2000; Der lange Weg nach Mitte, 1999; Loving the Alien (Editor), 1998; Politische Korrekturen 1996; Yo! Hermeneutics-Schwarze Kulturkritik: Pop, Medien, Feminismus (Editor) 1993. Selected exhibitions and theatre-projects include Die Kraft der Negation, Theater der Welt Cologne / Volksbühne Berlin; BildSchirmAuge, Bauhaus Archiv Berlin; Cross Gender / Cross Genre, Steirischer Herbst, Graz; Loving the Alien; Berlin
Tirdad Zolghadr works as a freelance curator, writes for frieze magazine and has also contributed to Parkett, Bidoun, Cabinet, afterall, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Straits Times Singapore and other publications. After his MA in Comparative Literature he began work in the field of journalism and documentary film, being a co-founder of the Tehran-based online publication Bad Jens in 1999, and co-director of “Tehran 1380” (with Solmaz Shahbazi), a documentary on Tehran mass housing in 2002. His recent “Tropical Modernism” explores the history of Iranian socialism and was premiered at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival 2006. Since 2004, Zolghadr has curated events at Cubitt London, IASPIS Stockholm, Kunsthalle Geneva, various Tehran artspaces and other venues. He was co-curator of the International Sharjah Biennial 2005, and is currently preparing a long-term exhibition and research project addressing social class in the art world that shall take place at Gasworks London, Platform Istanbul and Tensta Konsthall. Zolghadr is also a founding member of the SHAHRZAD art & design collective and will shortly publish his novel “Softcore” with Telegram Books, London.
Vasif Kortun is an educator, writer, advisor and curator on the field of contemporary art. He is the director of Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, in Istanbul. His writing and interviews over the last years have appeared in many books, magazines and exhibition catalogs. Jahresring 51: Szene Turkei: Abseits aber Tor, a book on Turkey co-authored with Erden Kosova was published in December 2004. Exhibitions in 2005 were 9th International Istanbul Biennial (co-curator) Ahmet Ögüt, Mala Galerija, Ljubljana and Normalization 1 through 4, (co-curator), Platform.